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Coronavirus Update Tuesday 12th May

The Government has issued its new 60-page guidance. This document was produced yesterday afternoon almost a full day after the televised statement. The statement implied, for example, that people were to go back to work effective Monday. This was then clarified in the statement to say that this was effective from Wednesday. Businesses have been asked to put in measures for social distancing, yet the guidelines are yet to be published and are unlikely to be in place in time for them to make the necessary judgements. The rules around exercise and gatherings have been relaxed but to the point that the Chairman of West Yorkshire Police was on television this morning expressing how difficult this will be to enforce. Those who are asked to go back to work are largely those on the lowest income brackets and those who in a report produced by the office of national statistics yesterday are now far more likely to die from the coronavirus than their white-collar counterparts. Families are being asked to return to work without schools or early years settings being re-opened.

We needed clarity and reassurance. Instead, we have been asked to work with guidance that looks hurried, unevidenced and shows a lack of understanding of the needs of those trying to manage through this very difficult situation.


The Government is urging more vulnerable children, who are already able to attend school, to do so. The Government has indicated that a phased re-opening of primary schools could begin from 1 June. This would involve reception, year one and year six with the ambition being for all primary school children to return to school. Years 10 and 12 should also receive some face to face contact with schools or colleges ahead of exams next year.

The Government has indicated that the decision about how to re-open more would remain with head teachers. Families who decide not to send their children back will not receive fines. The situation for students going to university in September is not yet clear. LCC is continuing it’s dialogue with Head Teachers this week to determine how to ease restrictions around schools.

Outdoor exercise

From Wednesday people in England will be able to take more outdoor exercise rather than once a day. Households will be able to drive to other destinations in England and people will be free to sit in parks and play sport.

Given these changes, LCC will re-open car parks in parks from Wednesday. In line with Government advice, playgrounds will remain closed as will outdoor gym equipment. LCC will check signs on all playgrounds and replace where signs have been removed.

Re-starting the economy

The government has said that sectors of the economy that the Government has allowed to be open should be open. These include construction, manufacturing and food production. Phases two and three of the Government’s plan would see more businesses opening if they judge conditions to be right. This could include non-essential retailers opening from 1 June if they can maintain social distancing. Tighter restrictions are likely to remain in place for indoor public spaces as the risk of infection transmission is higher.

People should continue to work from home if they can and that will remain the advice for the “foreseeable future.” Those who “can’t work from home” will be “encouraged to go to work” from Wednesday. The national advice continues to be that workers should avoid public transport. The Government has issued national guidance for employers to make workplaces “Covid safe”. Leeds City Council are currently developing our own plans to help a return to work for those members of staff who cannot work from home. My staff continue to work from home and will do so for the foreseeable future.

Mental Health

For anyone in Leeds suffering a mental health crisis the first port of call would be third sector support via Mindwell Leeds. Where it appears Mindwell cannot support an individual, they will refer them to the Mental Health Single Point of Access on 0300 300 1485. This is an NHS service available 24/7 and is the route to a crisis mental health assessment and any secondary-level care. If you believe someone to be at immediate risk of harm, please phone the police on 999. Police officers with mental health services via a dedicated number. If the person requires compulsory hospital admission, they will refer them to a Mental Health Professional. The Adult Emergency Duty Team operates between 5pm and 8am weekdays and continuously over weekends and bank holidays.  The EDT handles undertaking urgent Mental Health Act assessments. Examples of social care emergencies which cannot wait until the next working day include:

  1. Some non-availability (e.g. due to hospital admission) of somebody who provides a high level of care for a person, such that the individual can’t be kept safe.

  2. Sudden and dramatic increase in a person’s needs, found not to be due to an acute medical need.

You can contact the EDT on 0113 378 0644 or via


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